Journal of the American Heart Association 2017 11 076(11) pii 10.1161/JAHA.117.007253
Activated cardiac fibroblasts (CFs), preglomerular vascular smooth muscle cells (PGVSMCs), and glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs) proliferate, cause hypertrophy, and produce collagen; in this way, activated CFs contribute to cardiac fibrosis, and activated PGVSMCs and GMCs promote renal fibrosis. In heart and kidney diseases, SDF-1α (stromal cell-derived factor 1α; endogenous CXCR4 [C-X-C motif chemokine receptor 4] receptor agonist) levels are often elevated; therefore, it is important to know whether and how the SDF-1α/CXCR4 axis activates CFs, PGVSMCs, or GMCs.
METHODS AND RESULTS
Here we investigated whether SDF-1α activates CFs, PGVSMCs, and GMCs to proliferate, hypertrophy, or produce collagen. DPP4 (dipeptidyl peptidase 4) inactivates SDF-1α and previous experiments show that growth-promoting peptides have greater effects in cells from genetically-hypertensive animals. Therefore, we performed experiments in the absence and presence of sitagliptin (DPP4 inhibitor) and in cells from normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats and spontaneously hypertensive rats. Our studies show (1) that spontaneously hypertensive and Wistar-Kyoto rat CFs, PGVSMCs, and GMCs express CXCR4 receptors and DPP4 activity; (2) that chronic treatment with physiologically relevant concentrations of SDF-1α causes concentration-dependent increases in the proliferation (cell number) and hypertrophy ((3)H-leucine incorporation) of and collagen production ((3)H-proline incorporation) by CFs, PGVSMCs, and GMCs; (3) that sitagliptin augments these effects of SDF-1α; (4) that interactions between SDF-1α and sitagliptin are greater in spontaneously hypertensive rat cells; (5) that CXCR4 antagonism (AMD3100) blocks all effects of SDF-1α; and (6) that SDF-1α/CXCR4 signal transduction likely involves the RACK1 (receptor for activated C kinase 1)/Gβγ/PLC (phospholipase C)/PKC (protein kinase C) signaling complex.
The SDF-1α/CXCR4 axis drives proliferation and hypertrophy of and collagen production by CFs, PGVSMCs, and GMCs, particularly in cells from genetically hypertensive animals and when DPP4 is inhibited.